Concert review: George Strait, Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack at 1st Mariner
John-John Williams IV was at 1st Mariner Friday night to see Reba McEntire, George Strait and Lee Ann Womack. Here is his review:
Reba McEntire (pictured, top) showed Friday night at 1st Mariner Arena why she is arguably the queen of country music, while veteran crooner George Strait (pictured, bottom) left me wondering why he hasn't been kicked from his throne.
Strait's dry performance lacked the flare and persona of McEntire. Strait's songs sounded pretty much the same in both lyrics and tempo. After the 10th reference to honky tonk, Strait's act started to wear thin.
It was a different story with McEntire and Lee Ann Womack, who went on before Strait. They both showed more style and flair. The two were dressed to impress, and flexed their vocal muscles with a good mix of songs. Their performances definitely delighted the crowd. (McEntire brought the audience to its feet on several occasions.)
Strait, on the other hand, sang one sad, whiny, slow song after another. It's a shame because the concert had so much promise. ...
A brunette (she's usually blond) Womack kicked things off with a slew of her No. 1 hits. (I know this because she reminded the crowd each time she sang one.) Highlights from her half hour on stage include her singing "Last Call" from her 2008 album "Call Me Crazy." The pain and liberation of the song was palpable.
"I Hope You Dance," the title track from her 2000 album, is a beautiful ballad that has become her signature song. (You've likely heard it played at weddings.) She dedicated the song to her two girls. It was a nice half-hour display of Womack's traditional country sounds.
McEntire was definitely the show stopper. She pulled out all the stops during her 90-minute performance. The iconic native Oklahoman took the stage after a montage of clips from her career was shown on several big screen televisions hanging from the rafters. She immediately launched into "What Am I Gonna Do About You," her 1986 hit.
McEntire then took the crowd on a hit parade which spanned more than three decades. "I Keep On Loving You", a new single off of McEntire's 2009 album of the same name was a crowd-pleaser. Written by hitmakers Brooks & Dunn, the ballad is tender with a very traditional country twang. I also enjoyed "Does He Love You," (McEntire's 1993 single from her Greatest Hits: Volume 2) which she recorded as a duet with Linda Davis.
Instead, Womack surprised the crowd and took the stage for a virtual sing-off. The two really captured the tension of the song. The crowd gave a standing ovation at the end.
Toward the end of the performance, Melissa Peterman, the co-star of McEntire's now defunct sitcom "Reba," came on stage for a funny stretch that included McEntire singing the show's theme song, "I'm a Survivor."
McEntire ended with an encore where she sang her signature song "Fancy." McEntire, who had now changed into a shimmering red dress and matching shoes, came back on to the stage after emerging from a taxi cab that drove down the aisle, which was reminiscent of the 1991 music video. The song -- the ultimate survivor's anthem -- brought down the house, and had the crowd invigorated and satisfied. That's where the concert needed to end.
(AP photos by Gail Burton)